Here’s a tip from MOC Member Dr. Emily Wesolowski:
Need another reason to go outside? Getting your daily sun may help you reset your circadian clock. As reported by the BBC (Science & Environment: August 1, 2013) researchers from the University of Colorado found that exposure to the natural light- dark cycle, through a week long camping trip, participants were more synchronized with their natural sleep rhythms. This was in contrast to our electrically lit lives which has left us out of synch with the natural fluctuation of melatonin. Melatonin, the hormone which governs the circadian cycle typically rises just before sleep and falls throughout the night to a low just prior to waking. With increasing demands in our busy lives we often find ourselves awake into the wee hours exposed to artificial light, computer screens, televisions, and cell phones. This research suggests that exposure to artificial light influences our natural sleep-wake cycle by its effects on the rise and fall of melatonin. The result is that we are waking when melatonin levels are still elevated which leaves us feeling groggy. While we cannot all take a week off to go camping we can strive for more time outdoors in natural light as a means of getting back to our natural biologic rhythms.